Wayne LaPierre resigns as NRA chief

After spending decades as head of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre announced Friday that he is stepping down from his role as the group’s chief executive.

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“With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA,” LaPierre said Friday in a statement. “I’ve been a card-carrying member of this organization for most of my adult life, and I will never stop supporting the NRA and its fight to defend Second Amendment freedom. My passion for our cause burns as deeply as ever.”

LaPierre said he was resigning effective Jan. 31 due to health reasons, according to the NRA. The group’s president, Charles Cotton, accepted LaPierre’s resignation on Friday.

Longtime NRA executive and head of general operations Andrew Arulanandam will serve as interim CEO and executive vice president of the NRA with LaPierre’s departure.

“Wayne has done as much to protect Second Amendment freedom as anyone,” Cotton said. “Wayne is a towering figure in the fight for constitutional freedom, but one of his other talents is equally important: he built an organization that is bigger than him.”

The NRA saw significant growth under LaPierre, who has served as the group’s executive vice president since 1991. Under his tenure, the NRA more than doubled its membership, and LaPierre helped to turn the group into “an unflinching force for looser gun laws, with the ability to mobilize its millions of members against any gun restrictions,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

“What makes the NRA unlike any other advocacy organization is the depth and experience of its professional team, the unwavering support of its members, and its fighting spirit,” LaPierre said Friday. “I have enormous confidence in our board of directors, executive leadership team, and my long-time colleague Andrew Arulanandam.”

The decision came ahead of a civil trial in New York slated to begin on Monday.

In 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the NRA and its senior management, accusing the group of violating several laws and calling for its dissolution. James accused NRA officials of using millions of dollars earmarked for the NRA for personal use.

LaPierre is among the people named in the suit.